Sunday, June 16, 2019

Junesploitation 2019 Day 16: '80s Comedy!

It's funny enough to eat!


  1. Ivan Reitman's GHOSTBUSTERS (1984, 105 min.) and GHOSTBUSTERS 2 (1989, 108 min.) on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.

    Bought the recently-released 35th Anniversary set, which sadly has all the new bonus features on the 1080p Blu-rays and not the 4K discs (boo!). Like "Logan Lucky" earlier this month, the improved 4K picture and remastered sound of the Ultra HD Blu-rays make it easier to lose oneself in this peculiar movie world. Despite a few too-grainy and too-soft shots betraying their age, some of the special effects sequences in both films (Slimer's first appearance at the hotel, the Scoleri brothers' courtroom hijinks, the proton packs' blasts, etc.) and the overall picture clarity border on stunning. If you've been bitten by the 4K bug all the "Ghostbusters" features (including the 2016 version) do the format justice. To paraphrase Winston Z.: 'I LOVE 4K!' :-)

    I've seen the original "Ghostbusters" more times than I can remember on half-a-dozen formats, and "Ghostbusters II" my fair share over the past five years or so. While the first one is damn near perfect and has this knack of never getting old and still being funny after you've seen/heard the jokes a thousand times ('They go up.'), "Ghostbusters II" keeps growing on me. It suffers tremendously when seen back-to-back (like I just did) or compared with its prequel. And yes, the "II" logo pose and bastardization of the original Ray Parker Jr. song should be tried as war crimes at The Hague. But there are enough silly gags (the jumping toaster, Spengler's control group tests), supporting loons (Harris Yulin's hang'em judge cracks me up) and returning faves (Rick Moranis' night school lawyer routine) to compensate for some of the leads (particularly Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver) phoning it in. And for the record, (a) the 'Do... Re... Egon!' scene cracks me up and (b) the second movie is better directed, looks nicer and has more creative camera work than the original. Ivan sure learned a lot on the "Legal Eagles" and "Twins" sets in-between "Ghostbuster" gigs.

    The car keys have been passed on to Reitman's son Jason (who has a small role in "II" as the son of the naked lady humping an alien at the very end of "They Live"... THE-MORE-YOU-KNOW-SPLOITATION!) for an official third installment. Hope there's some funny left in the Ecto-1 tank, because last time I checked (with the '16 Paul Feig version) this peaked-in-the-'80's comedy franchise was running on fumes.

  2. UP THE CREEK (1984)

    Up the Creek is by no means a bad film, yet I could not help noticing how much of a hodgepodge of elements from earlier comedies it is. The casting of actors from Animal House and Porky’s does not seem accidental in that regard. Overall, Up the Creek feels like it is following a formula. Much of the start of the film is perfunctory scenes of loser students, which I do not find very engaging. Once the raft race plot starts, a sort of surrealism comes in that livens up the film. Though little of the race part makes logical sense, the fun factor is high. The actor who played the leader of the military team looked like he was having too much fun. He could not have been more over-the-top.

    I like the Cheap Trick title song. It is one of the few things I remembered from seeing the film back in the '80s.

    A personal note: Up the Creek is film I remember watching with my father when I was probably no more than ten years old. I cannot recall my reaction to it at that time, but not a long time later my mother and a friend rented it. They were appalled that my father would allow my sister and me to watch such filth.

  3. Three O'Clock High (1987)

    It feels this is a highschool you can get away with most things, theft, bullying, distruction of libraries and punching out Mitch Pileggi.

    This is a quirky fun movie. I know it's meant to be a riff on higg noon, but it feels more like a Prison escape movie, just the way the structure works, the fact that he cannot leave. The way Buddy Revell is presented. It's a smart movie in terms of how it is strutured. I'm glad I finally saw this movie.

  4. Used Cars (1980)

    Speaking of smart movies in how they are structured. This movie is a bawdy delight. The older I get the more I appreciate Zemeckis just in terms of how he can build a gag and keep building on it. Or keep so many balls in the air then letting them all fall into place. Because nothing misses a mark on a Zemeckis joint, they wouldn't dare.

  5. "Airplane" 1980, Dirs. Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Larry Zucker.

    Not the most adventurous choice this month, but shirley this is ideal for a lazy Sunday?

  6. Summer School (1987)

    A very light, fun, and silly comedy about Mark Harmon being stuck teaching a bunch of quirky kids remedial English all summer. I liked that they didn’t make any of the kids your typical juvenile delinquents. You’ve got the kid who sleeps in class all the time, a pregnant girl, a jock, and two horror loving nerds named Chainsaw and Dave. Although they did pronounce Tobe Hooper’s name wrong in the most bizarre way you could imagine. TOE-BAY HOO-PAIR.

    It’s also an interesting list of talent associated with this one. Written by Jeff Franklin, one of the main written and producers on full house, score by Danny Elfman, and directed by Carl Reiner. The cast is also great. Besides Harmon, you’ve got Kirstie Alley, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Dean Cameron, Shawnee Smith, Kelly Jo Minter, and more. A really fun watch for a lazy summer morning.

    1. My favorite is the guy that leaves to go to the bathroom then doesn't come back until the end of the movie when they take the test.

    2. Haha, yeah, that was great. I actually thought about him halfway through the movie and was wondering if he’d actually come back lol.

  7. The History of White People in America (1985, dir. Harry Shearer, First Time Viewing)

    A fake documentary by and starring Martin Mull satirizing the "white experience". Pretty hilarious and boundary-pushing. This was apparently a TV special although the pretty rough copy I watched on Youtube definitely had R-rated language. Recommended.

  8. WHOLLY MOSES (1980)
    A Mel Brooks-style parody of The Ten Commandments, trying so hard that it casts a lot of Mel’s regulars for cameos. It’s a starring vehicle for Dudley Moore, and Moore's cynical-swinging-single act is a little grating. One of these days, I’ll finally have to watch Arthur to see why Dudley Moore is supposed to be a big deal. As for this movie, it’s several tiers below Mel Brooks and the Zuckers in the parody department. It only sparks to live during the celebrity cameos, and is pretty lackluster otherwise.

    Bonus #Godzillasploitation: GODZILLA 1985 (1985)
    Godzilla is a nostalgia item by this point, so this movie is an intentional throwback (stealth remake, really) of the 1954 original. It’s drearily slow paced, with scene after scene after scene of stuffed-shirt politicians debating what to do about Godzilla. On the plus side, it's a post-Star Wars world now, so the miniatures and monster suit are top-notch, nicely detailed and just plain cool to look at.

  9. Morons from Outer Space (1985, dir. Mike Hodges)

    A trio of space-faring idiots (from the planet BLOB!) crash-land in Britain and become celebrities, while their more intelligent companion lands in America and tries desperately to meet up with his friends again.

    Written by and starring Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones, mainly known for British sketch shows like Not the 9 O'Clock News and Alas Smith & Jones, it's a bunch of sketches around a loose story, some funnier than others.

    School Spirit (1985, dir. Alan Holleb)

    Your basic high concept T&A comedy. Billy Batson(!) dies before he gets off with the girl of his dreams, so he comes back as a ghost to try again (and spy on naked girls). The novel concept is the one thing the movie has going for it, and it gets very little out of it.

    Pi pi pil... pilleri (1982, dir. Visa Mäkinen)

    A stupid Finnish sex comedy. The only reason I bought the DVD was nostalgia: I'm pretty sure this movie was the first time I ever saw a naked woman, at the tender age of eight or nine, probably. Unsurprisingly, it's not as racy as I remembered. An actor who later became a popular children's entertainer plays a pervert here, which is slightly disturbing.

  10. Easy Money (1983)

    Rodney Dangerfield movie about a guy who needs to give up drinking and gambling as a condition to inherit 10 million dollars after his mother-in-law dies. If this movie were made today, his initial bad behavior would have to be magnified a thousand times. As it is, he stays out late with the guys drinking and betting on horses, and the worst result of this is a car accident that messes up the wedding cake he picked up for his daughter's wedding the next day (although they skip over any scene where the family would be pissed off at him because of it).

    So largely inoffensive, and there's a good supporting cast in there. Neither great nor terrible. I was in the mood for Rodney Dangerfield and this movie delivered what was advertised on the cover.

  11. Some Girls (1988)

    Listed as a comedy but I could find a joke or anything funny at all. Is it Patrick Dempsey in clothes four sizes too big? There are, like, 10 other movies where PD rocks the outfit from the Talking Heads video. This movie is a bunch of nonsense. I don't even want to talk about it, anymore.

  12. Savannah Smiles (1982)

    My nostalgia glasses will not allow me to dislike this movie. I saw this movie 37 times when I was little(for every time Savannah smiles...not really). It's that old story. Rich congressman has no time for his child. She runs away. Gets in the back of the rusty old car a couple of ne'er-do-wells. They accidentally take her. She warms their hearts. We find out that the real evil is a shitty dad. Happy Father's Day!

  13. And God Created Woman (1988)

    Another "comedy". No, not the 1956 french drama starring Brigitte Bardot. Directed by the same director, 32 years later, is a story about a girl. She breaks out of prison, only to sneak back in. Before she is caught, she has sex with some guy working on some maintenance. She then asks him to marry her so she can get out of jail. He says yes but she won't sleep with him again because they are partners. Make sure you are not drinking water during this because you will not stop spitting it everywhere.

  14. Up the Creek (1984)

    I can’t honestly say that this was a good movie, but I can say I enjoyed the hell out of it. It’s typical slobs vs snobs nonsense, but it’s got a talented cast and as Casual Listener observed above it takes a turn into surreality during the raft race that is infectiously silly and fun. For the most part it’s nothing you haven’t seen before (and better) in other movies, but there are laughs to be had, a killer title track by Cheap Trick, and plenty of gratuitous nudity.

    As for the cast sure you’ve got Tim Matheson, Jennifer Runyon, Stephen Furst, and Dan Monahan, but that doesn’t quite cover it. Most’ve got Jake. Jake plays Chuck the Wonder Dog and not only is he adorable and terrific, he’s also the same dog who would go on 3 years later to play Jason, Kincaid’s dog who pees fire and resurrects Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. Talk about range! He’s a Junesploitation superstar and a very good boy.

    1. I forgot to mention the dog, JP. He is the most amusing performer in the film.

  15. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

    "What's wrong with being sexy?"

  16. Police Academy (1984 - Hugh Wilson)
    To be honest, I don't find this movie particularly funny. I probably laughed once, smiled a few times. Yet I was surprised how good hearted Police Academy felt. Yes, a few jokes are very dated or were simply never funny at all, but most of the good cast ends in a spot, where I would like them to be. It's kind of a well made feel-good movie with kind of a nice dynamic. I completely understand why people liked to see it in 1984 (even if the critics could not share that enthusiasm) and why it had some successors (which I haven't seen ever).

  17. Joysticks (983)

    I know I'm celebrating Greydon Clark a little too early, but it's fitting and I couldn't help it. It's really just your typical 80s sex comedy about some one trying to get something shut down (was this that big of a problem in the 80s?). It's fairly average for that type of film, but still with a few funny and enjoyable moments thrown in.

    1. There should be a 1 in front of the 9, by the way. The movie's not THAT old.

  18. Mischief (1985)

    First time viewing. Yes, Kelly Preston is unbelievably beautiful, but I'm not sure what to make of the rest of this movie. I feel like it wanted to be sweet and sincere, but then, there's some sexual assault thrown in. The good guys never really get treated the way they want. The bad guys never really get their comeuppance. The only good joke might be the opening shot. There's not a lot of "there" there.

  19. The Great Outdoors (1988)

    The great John Candy and the greeeaaat? Dan Aykroyd team up for this mediocre little standard 80s family romp that absolutely slayed me when I was younger and would have mostly fallen flat in my old age had I not been yucking it up with my son. Come for the Candy, stay for the...Candy - I love that guy so much.

  20. Mannequin (1987)

    Sometimes when you watch a movie from childhood and you don't get the rose tint of nostalgia, you just have to accept the thing that is in front of you. And this is Mannequin. It is all the flounce of the 80s, all chiffon and no substance. How are those windows drawing crowds? Even in the 80s? But then there is a an douchey James Spader performance. And I am always up for a dancing around mall montage scene. And a Rambo joke that probably didn't really kill even back in 87. It's Mannequin. What else is there to say.

  21. Teen Witch (1989, dir. Dorian Walker)

    I love when the stars align and my pick for the day turns out to have been the perfect choice. This movie was blissfully silly and '80s as hell. My wife and I had a GREAT time with it. It's also terrific how to kinda sorta flirts with being a musical at times. Loved it!

  22. The Great Outdoors (1988)

    An all time favorite.

    One cannot celebrate '80s Comedy! day without a John Candy movie. As Sol said above, I love John Candy so much.

  23. Summer School (1987)

    My 30th viewing of this movie did not disappoint!

    The Beach Girls (1982)

    I didn't think of this double feature, I channeled it.

  24. JOHNNY BE GOOD (1988):

    To paraphrase Jay Bauman: Cocaine should have gotten a screenwriting credit on this one.

  25. Uncle Buck (1989)

    John Hughes had some classics, but I've decided he's the King of the 3-Star Movie, especially in this period - there's always some memorable moments and strong performances, but the movies are pretty formulaic, checking off the necessary boxes to leave you satisfied, but now wowed. That being said, Candy kills it as usual and I'd actually give big ups to Macaulay Culkin, whose performance is quite different from what he'd end up doing in Home Alone - as far as child actors go, he was pretty great!

  26. My Chauffeur (1986)

    Deborah Foreman is so damned delightful in this, and I really dug the little throwbacks to the screwball comedies of old. Nearly has one of the biggest wtf endings of all time (Foreman’s reaction to said ending is laugh out loud funny) before they pull it back. I really loved it.

  27. Clue (1985, dir. Jonathan Lynn)

    This wasn't our first choice for '80s Comedy day (that would be Hot Dog...The Movie), but it worked in a pinch when we needed something the kids could also watch. This cast is a murderer's row. We went with ALL the endings because that's the most satisfying way to watch it.